Public Lands Stewards: Oregon Coastal Ecology

by | Land Stewards


Hello from the southern coast of Oregon! My name is Rachel Carlson and I am the coastal resources intern working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in Brookings, Or. In the beginning of 2019 I was looking for work that was more fulfilling than what I was doing at the time and I came across a post describing a position as a public lands steward in Oregon. My interest was immediately piqued. It sounded like I would be outside all day, which is something I would already be doing in my free time. I have always wanted to do a term of service with AmeriCorps as well, so this opportunity through the Mt. Adams Institute was a way for me to merge my interests.


In this position I have already learned so much. I have had excellent support helping me in this, from my mentor, Sherri Laier, to the park rangers who work at the Harris Beach MU. My duties are, for the most part, to rate the Oregon Coast Trail in Curry County, and also find and map rare plants and invasive weed species along the way. I can honestly say that I am truly enjoying working in the field of natural resource management. My background is in agriculture, so I wasn’t sure how the adjustment would be. So far I’ve been able to build on my prior knowledge, especially with invasive weeds.

The southern coast is actually quite secluded, and the natural world is everywhere. The ecology we have here is unusual because of our balmy climate, and it makes what I do fascinating. It also makes it enticing to a very diverse horde of invasive plants. From conversations I’ve had with various coworkers, I’ve learned more and more about Oregon, from coastal geology to biology to land use. I foresee the next few months being full of trail walking, mapping, weed removal and interesting discussions, and I couldn’t be happier.